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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 12th May 2023 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Foodservice price inflation falls below 20% for first time in five months, further drops forecast in months ahead: Food and drink inflation dropped to 18.9% in March, the latest CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index reveals, with further drops forecast in the months ahead. It is the fourth consecutive fall in year-on-year inflation and the first time in five months the rate has dipped below 20%. While prices increased by 0.7% month-on-month between February and March, there are clear signs that inflation is steadily slowing after enormous challenges throughout the last year, the report said. The downward trend has been driven by an easing of prices in key commodity markets. The dairy and oils and fats categories within the index both recorded month-on-month deflation on the back of improved availability, aided by increased milk production and falling edible oil prices. Only two of the index’s ten categories reported month-on-month inflation of 2% or more. Inflation has also been slowed by significant falls in the cost of crude oil, a major upstream influencer on the price of food. Crude prices fell 24.4% year-on-year and 4.4% month-on-month. While other factors including labour, energy and currency markets will continue to influence pricing, the new edition of the index forecasts further falls in inflation in the months ahead. However, some categories, including meat and sugar, are likely to remain volatile as a result of supply uncertainties. Prestige Purchasing chief executive Shaun Allen said: “Prices remain high, and with eight out of ten categories still reporting month-on-month increases, the overall cost of food and beverages in the sector continues to rise just at a slower rate. The pressure on operators’ margins is still increasing.” James Ashurst, client director at CGA by NIQ, added: “After months of relentless pressure on prices, we can be cautiously optimistic that foodservice inflation is at last softening. But much damage has already been done to businesses’ costs and consumers’ spending, and with various areas of food and beverage supply still volatile, conditions will remain difficult for some time to come.”

Industry News:

Founders panel to feature at Propel Multi-Club Conference featuring all-female line-up of leaders: A founders panel will feature at the second Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2023, which takes place on Thursday, 29 June, at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London’s Kensington. The all-day conference, which is organised in conjunction with Ann Elliott, will feature an all-female line-up of sector leaders on learning lessons from the pandemic and moving forward. The panel will include Alice Williams, founder of Luminary Bakery; Sarah Brading, founder of Flat Earth Pizzas; and Zoe Paskin, co-founder/managing director of Paskintalking about how they established their businesses, their learnings, and their advice to others. Almost 400 people have already booked a place. Multi-site operators can book up to three free places each by emailing
Latest edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book to be released today: The latest edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book will be sent to Premium subscribers today (Friday, 12 May), at midday. It now features 723 companies that are turning over a total of £43.4bn. The Blue Book shows 483 companies in profit and 240 reporting losses. The Blue Book is updated each month and ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Premium subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

Luke Johnson – lack of authenticity is scuppering some casual dining brands: Serial sector investor Luke Johnson has argued that a lack of authenticity is scuppering some casual dining brands. Writing exclusively in today’s (Friday, 12 May) Propel Premium Opinion, Johnson also said successful businesses have stayed true to their roots and don’t hide their true opinions behind meaningless jargon. But he believes casual dining still has a future. Johnson said: “The catering sector is so ferociously competitive and costs now so burdensome than forgettable, mediocre players are likely to go to the wall. If every menu item is obvious, if all the suppliers are bog standard, if the décor is a poor imitation of hundreds of other venues, customers will see through the deception.” He added: “I think there are plenty of dynamic businesses that are taking share and doing well. These restaurateurs tend to provide food and drink with a degree of integrity; they manage not replica, me-too establishments, but rather memorable and authoritative eating houses.” Johnson will share more of his thoughts in today’s Premium Opinion, which will be sent to Premium subscribers at 5pm. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription.
Zero Carbon Forum members save collective £1.43m and 1,243 tonnes of carbon dioxide since launch of Save While You Sleep campaign: Members of the Zero Carbon Forum have saved a collective £1.43m and 1,243 tonnes of carbon dioxide in energy since the launch of its campaign, Save While You Sleep (SWYS). This is the equivalent to the emissions of 4.5 million car miles and has the same carbon savings as taking 565 cars off the road. The forum – a non-profit organisation that is empowering hospitality to reach sustainability targets with speed, efficiency, and profit – is continuing its mission to support members with increasing energy costs while reaching net zero at pace. Its SWYS initiative works by combining energy and carbon analytics with operational training and ongoing coaching. Operators’ existing energy smart meter data is run through the SWYS proprietary intelligence platform, to identify overnight energy wastage. Dedicated “carbon coaches” provide analysis, insight coaching and training and on and off-site support to report high overnight wastage sites, identify key causes, help with remedial actions, and benchmark performance. The programme has already helped forum members – including Burger King and TGI Fridays – reduce costs, recover lost profits and cut carbon overnight, saving up to £12,000 per outlet annually, since the programme was launched last year. 
Interest rates rise ‘huge worry’ for sector businesses: The latest interest rates rise will be a “huge worry” for sector businesses, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has warned. The Bank of England has raised rates from 4.25% to 4.5%, their highest levels in almost 15 years, in an attempt to lower inflation. Potential higher loan costs could prove to be a further burden for businesses already having to adjust to a lower rate of government support with energy bills, Nicholls said. “Interest rates reaching their highest levels since 2008 will be a huge worry for hospitality businesses and could significantly impact business viability,” she added. “Hospitality was the business sector most affected by the pandemic, with a large number of businesses forced to take out loans to survive. With those loans now due, consistently rising interest rates compound debt and inflict further economic pain on venues. Loan repayment is not the only price pressure businesses face, with the sector now in a period of peak energy pain. Urgent action is needed from government to bring costs down, particularly on energy, and more needs to be done to assist businesses in their pandemic debt. We would urge HM Revenue & Customs to be lenient in their demands from businesses at this point, allowing Time to Pay Arrangements.”

Leon co-founder John Vincent invests in influencer platform Invyted: John Vincent, co-founder and former chief executive of Leon, the healthy fast-food chain, has invested in and become an executive partner of Invyted, the tech platform that “transforms how brands and influencers collaborate”. Vincent left the then circa 70-strong Leon in April 2021 after Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the brothers behind Asda, acquired the brand through their EG Group business, in a £100m deal. Vincent joins Invyted, which was founded by 22-year-old food blogger turned entrepreneur Asti Wagner, as it gets ready to officially launch. The company began a trial phase initially focusing on hospitality at the end of last year under the name Inbited, but has now rebranded as Invyted. The platform allows brands and influencers to collaborate in real-time and enables brands to continuously track the impact of any campaign. Wagner said: “I experienced first-hand how time consuming and complex it is for companies and influencers to communicate and how difficult it is for marketing teams to track and measure the reach and engagement resulting from their campaigns. I presumed there was a tech platform that made this possible – there wasn’t, so I thought it would be helpful if I created one myself. There is creative talent on both sides – we have created Invyted to bring everyone together on one platform.” Wagner has spent the last year developing the technology, and is now launching Invyted, starting in London. While the first focus is the UK, Invyted has been created to operate internationally, with New York and Los Angeles launching later this year. Vincent said: “I know from someone who has spent a few years building a food brand that Invyted offers something very powerful. Just as importantly, I am loving working with Asti. I have so much to learn from her and I am excited to build Invyted together.”
Campaign launches to save Brixton Academy: A campaigned has been launched to save Brixton Academy from closure. Earlier this week, the Met Police called for the music venue to have its license revoked, which Lambeth Council said it would consider “in due course”. It follows a fatal crush at the venue in December, when two people died following a crowd surge outside the south London building, after which its license was suspended for three months. A petition to save the venue has already topped 50,000 signatures, and the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has now joined live music awareness group Save our Scene and local business collective Brixton BID in helping try to keep the venue open. The NTIA said while sight of the “tragic accident” cannot be lost, closing the venue would have “huge ramifications within the local economy”. NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “The Brixton Academy is a huge part of the cultural economy within London and the UK and is without doubt one of the landmark performance spaces in the world. The loss of this venue would be catastrophic for the industry, so would urge all involved to engage in productive and meaningful discussions, and present a unified position on delivering the safe and effective management of this space in the future.” Save Our Scene chief executive George Fleming added: “If the council and government continues to undermine culture and close down venues, we could see the industry move further underground where there is not the same level of regulation or safety.”
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a social entertainment concept that is looking for a general manager. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “In this multifaceted venue, you will be managing a large team up to 70. You would have full autonomy over the P&L and be expected to look at all commercial revenue streams while inspiring and leading a team over the bar, restaurant, private dining room, and events space and delivering a seamless experience. The business is looking for someone who preferably has new openings experience.” The salary is up to £75,000 plus company shares and the position is based in Birmingham. For more information, email

Company News:

Scottish chef who founded ‘one of UK’s largest takeaway kitchens’ preparing to take new pizza concept nationwide, targets 100 sites by 2026: A Scottish chef who founded one of the largest takeaway kitchens in the UK is preparing to take his new pizza concept nationwide and has targeted 100 sites over the next two to three years. Ajmal Mushtaq is chef-director at Mushtaqs in Hamilton, which won the Best Delivery Restaurant in Britain award in 2013, with Mushtaq himself voted Scottish Chef of the Year four times. Mushtaq said its 20-metre by 12-metre kitchen serves up thousands of meals a week, including more than 1,000 over four hours every Friday night. The restaurant also featured on BBC programmes Best of British Takeaways, as Tom Kerridge explored Indian food in the UK, and Who Should Get to Stay in the UK, as Mushtaq sought to bring authentic curry chefs over from India to aid his expansion plans. But when the restaurant was forced to close during covid, Mushtaq turned his hand to pizzas, setting up Boss Pizza, which soon grew to three sites in Scotland. It is now gearing up to open its first sites in England – both in west London – with an opening in Acton this month, at 307 Uxbridge Road, to be followed by another in Hammersmith in the summer. “On top of those openings, we have sold a dozen other franchises, it’s just a case of finding the stores,” Mushtaq told Propel. “We’ll be going from Aberdeen to Southampton – we want to be a national brand. I think we can reach 100 sites over the next two to three years, but I’m not interested in rapid growth. We want to make sure we’re profitable for every franchisee and make sure they’re good for the concept.” Developing the concept during the summer of 2020 lockdowns, it became “more popular than we ever imagined” and grew from there. “Our point of difference is we are bigger, better and fresher as our pizzas are 40% bigger and 50% cheaper than our competitors, and we make the dough fresh in-store every day,” said Mushtaq. “We’re after the Domino’s market. We’ve taken the operating model of Mushtaqs and applied it to pizza.” Mushtaqs still operates as a takeaway service. Boss Pizza will feature in the next Propel UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and is available exclusively to Premium subscribers. The database is updated every two months and the latest version features 200 businesses. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription.
Rosa’s Thai secures new £10m bank facility to fund openings pipeline, to make Scottish debut: Rosa’s Thai, the TriSpan-backed restaurant group led by Gavin Adair, has secured a £10m bank facility from Barclays to help fund its ongoing openings pipeline, which will include its debut site in Scotland. The 33-strong business, which opened its first overseas location in Dubai last October, confirmed it had openings lined up in Reading, Oxford and Leamington Spa, and added it had also secured a site in Glasgow, which will see it make its debut north of the border. As previously revealed by Propel, Rosa’s Thai will open its next site this summer, on the former Bill’s site in Leamington Spa. It has also secured the Busaba site in Oxford’s George Street. Rosa’s Thai, which has opened in Bath and Exeter in recent months, is also set to take a unit at the Jackson’s Corner scheme in Reading. Rosa’s Thai finance director Tsara Taylor said: “I’m delighted with the result of our recent refinance, undertaken during what is still a very challenging period for the sector. It’s great to be able to look ahead with increased confidence for the future and I am very much looking forward to partnering with Barclays as we continue to grow the business.” Neil Parry, of Parry Advisory, and Alistair Lee, of Argyll Debt Advisory, jointly advised on the process.
MJMK overfunding after hitting crowdfund target of £1m before official launch: London bar and restaurant operator MJMK, which is behind the Casa do Frango concept, is already overfunding after passing its £1m crowdfund target before the campaign goes public today (Friday, 12 May). At the time of going to press, the business had raised £1,086,500 from 147 investors. It is currently offering 5.72% of equity with a pre-money valuation of £17.9m. MJMK was seeking to raise an initial £1m to accelerate its growth across the capital. Founded by Marco Mendes and Jake Kasumov, the business will use the funding, which is being carried out through Crowdcube, to open its already confirmed Casa do Frango site in Victoria, which will launch at the Nova scheme this summer, and a new concept with chef-partner Santiago Lastra. It has already partnered with Lastra to open the now Michelin-starred Mexican restaurant KOL, and chef Nuno Mendes to launch Lisboeta. The company said total gross profit across its five existing sites was £12.3m in FY22 (site-level Ebitda £2.9m). It said that all sites “are profitable, with mature sites KOL and Casa do Frango London Bridge generating more than £100,000 average weekly sales (FY22)”. It said: “Despite unprecedented macroeconomic challenges, overall company Ebitda was £1.2m in FY22. Sales track ahead of the industry at 19% like-for-like.” 
Wendy’s debut UK drive-thru performing ahead of expectations, two more in pipeline: Todd Penegor, chief executive of Wendy’s, has said the brand’s debut UK drive-thru site, which opened at the end of January, at Brampton Hut, located on the A1/A14 intersection, is performing “ahead of expectations so far”. Speaking after the first quarter update from the third-largest quick service restaurant chain, Penegor said: “We look forward to building on that success with our second drive-thru restaurant, planned to open in the second quarter.” The Brampton Hut site is operated by Blank Table, which signed up to become a franchisee of Wendy’s in the UK last year, with an agreement to open sites under the brand across the east of England. It recently opened a second Wendy’s site in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, and has applied to open a site on the former NatWest bank in St Andrews Street, Cambridge. It will also open a further drive-thru site at the Bourges View business park in Maskew Avenue, Peterborough, later this year. Wendy’s is set to open its second UK drive-thru site later this month, at Northern Gateway, off Junction 28 of the A12 in Cuckoo Farm Way, Colchester. The openings will take Wendy’s past 30 UK locations since returning to these shores in 2021 – including 13 bricks and mortar restaurants – with the aim to have 45 sites by the end of this year. Last month, the business closed its site in Ilford, east London.
Midlands burger concept Phat Buns to make London debut: Midlands burger concept Phat Buns is to make its debut in London with an opening in Bayswater, Propel has learned. The eight-strong business, which was founded in 2019 by brothers Oubed and Ahtesham Moosa, has secured a lease on the former Tinseltown Restaurant in Westbourne Grove, for an opening this summer. The business recently made its debut in Yorkshire,with an opening in Sheffield’s London Road. The company, which recently opened its second site in Nottingham, also has an opening lined up in Derby and is understood to be in talks on sites in Cardiff and Leeds. CDG Leisure acted for the landlord, Farrow Properties, on the Westbourne Grove deal.
Italian gelato brand Badiani set to open first regional sites, plans further UK and European expansion: Italian gelato brand Badiani is set to open its first regional UK sites, as it plans further expansion both here and in Europe. Founded in Florence in 1932, the brand currently has nine shops spread across London as well as two in Spain. It will now open its first UK venue outside of London, at the Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex, on Friday, 26 May, swiftly followed by a second, in Brighton’s Duke Street, on Friday, 9 June. Massimo Franchi, chief executive of Badiani Gelato, said: “I am thrilled we are expanding our business throughout the UK. These two openings are just the tip of the iceberg in our ambitious expansion plans for the UK and Europe. We are looking forward to bringing an authentic Italian gelato experience to new customers outside of London.” As well as offering gelatos in 16 seasonal varieties and newly launched gelato burgers, pinguinos, crepes and waffles, Badiani has plans to start supplying products to restaurants, hotels and events throughout the UK.
Allpress Espresso to open debut regional cafe in Manchester: Specialty coffee roasters Allpress Espresso, which was acquired by Asahi in 2021, is to open its first regional cafe and barista training hub, in Manchester. The business has taken a 2,500 square-foot space on the ground floor of the Redfern building in the city’s NOMA neighbourhood. First launched in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1989 before opening its first UK store in London in 2010, Allpress roasts for circa 400 independent cafes across the UK, including its three company-owned sites in London – two in Shoreditch and one in Dalston. Agnes Potter, general manager at Allpress Espresso in the UK, said: “Already having more than 40 customers based throughout Manchester and the north, we are excited to open a space designed to provide support and a base for those customers, and to open our first UK cafe outside of London to grow our community. Having enjoyed great success at our Shoreditch and Dalston sites in London, growing our presence in the similarly eclectic NOMA neighbourhood is a great next step for us as we look to engage with new and pre-existing partners across the UK.” The company said that like its three London sites, the new cafe will provide a holistic coffee experience with a fresh menu using locally sourced products, in line with NOMA’s own sustainability commitments. There are also plans for hands-on coffee workshops, community events and tasting experiences at the site, which is expected to open in late summer 2023.
US themed events company set to launch Friends experience in UK, in Birmingham: US themed events company Original X is set to launch an experience based on hit TV show Friends in the UK, in Birmingham, this summer. The Friends Experience, which has enjoyed successful runs in the US as well as Paris and Brussels, will launch at NEC Birmingham on Saturday, 8 July. The interactive experience, created in partnership with Warner Bros Discovery Global Themed Entertainment and Warner Bros Television Group, gives guests the chance to explore the show’s history and recreate their favourite scenes. There will also be a cafe that recreates the sitcom’s famed coffee house, Central Perk. “We are looking forward to the UK debut of The Friends Experience in Birmingham,” said Stacy Moscatelli, co-president and chief strategy officer of Original X Productions. “Friends fans will be able to step inside the world of the iconic series, relive their favourite moments and celebrate the show like never before.” Original X was previously known as Superfly X and was also responsible for The Office Experience and Harry Potter: Magic at Play.
Suzanne Baker to take non-executive role at Stonegate: Suzanne Baker, commercial director at Stonegate Group, is to retire from her current position and take a role on the company’s board as a non-executive director. Baker has been a part of Stonegate since its inception in 2010 and previously held commercial director roles in Town & City Pub Group, Laurel Pub Company and JD Wetherspoon. Baker, who has spent 35 years within the hospitality industry said: “I have had the most fantastic time working within the hospitality sector, and I have had the privilege to have been in at the start of companies such as Wetherspoon and Stonegate Pub Company and seen those businesses grow and thrive. To be part of the Stonegate journey from 333 pubs to becoming the biggest pub company in the UK, through one of the most challenging times the industry has experienced, has been both demanding and rewarding. I am now looking forward to continuing to work with the board team as the business continues to raise the bar within the sector.” Ian Payne, Stonegate chairman, added: “Suzanne has been an instrumental part of Stonegate’s success over more than a decade and is a huge ambassador for our business and our wider sector as a whole. I am delighted she will remain with us in a non-executive capacity, so she can continue to bring her insight and unparalleled industry expertise to our business. An announcement concerning Suzanne’s replacement will follow in due course.”
M&B appoints Dan Barnett as new ops director for Castle Pubs division: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), the All Bar One, Harvester and Miller & Carter operator, has appointed Dan Barnett as the new operations director of its circa 120-strong Castle Pubs division, Propel has learned. Barnett joins M&B after a year and a half at head of operations at Laine Pub Co. Previous to that, he spent a year and a half as operations director at Splendid Restaurants, the KFC franchisee. He also spent more than seven years at KFC, and prior to that, he spent six years at Marston’s, including more than three years as an area operations manager. Castle operates pubs across the UK, including the Spaniards in London, the Dewdrop in Oxford, the One Trick Pony Club in Birmingham and the Adelphi in Leeds. 
Sky News – investment firm in talks to buy Black Sheep Brewery: Investment firm Breal Capital is in talks to buy Black Sheep Brewery days after the Yorkshire company warned it was on the brink of insolvency, reports Sky News. It said Breal Capital, part of Breal Group, has emerged as the leading contender to acquire Black Sheep Brewery, which last week filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators. Industry sources have said other bidders remained in contention to acquire the business, and that a deal with Breal was not yet certain. Advisers to Black Sheep Brewery had asked interested parties to table offers by last Friday (5 May). The company, which was founded by Paul Theakston in 1992, said its performance had been hit by the pandemic and required new investment. It was unclear whether any sale would be implemented through a pre-pack administration, although one industry executive suggested that was a possible outcome. Black Sheep Brewery operates four pubs – Foley’s Tap House and Black Sheep Tap & Kitchen in Leeds, and The Three Legged Mare and The Last Drop Inn in York.
London French restaurant expands to Middle East with double opening, third to follow: London French restaurant North Audley Cantine has expanded to the Middle East with a double opening, and a third to follow. The Mayfair-based restaurant, founded in 2013 by Jeremy Coste, David Bellaiche and Gabriel Cohen-Elia, has launched its first overseas sites, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Doha, Qatar. These will be followed soon by a further site in Dubai, situated within the new Huna Residence development in Jumeirah. The Dubai site will be the largest Middle Eastern opening for the concept and comprises a vast indoor seating area and exterior terrace.
East Anglia operator targets five-strong estate after acquiring second site: East Anglia operator Vamsi Putta is aiming to establish an estate of five pubs after acquiring his second site. Putta, licensee of The Brook in Cambridge, has acquired the lease of The Coach & Horses in Royston, which is part of Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars’ portfolio. The pub, which has been closed for more than three years, is to reopen in early June as The King James following a £210,000 joint investment by Putta, his business partner Prash Nellutla, and Star Pubs & Bars. Putta and Nellutla will introduce a food offer for the first time. The investment will increase internal covers from 32 to 51 and external covers from 13 to 24. Putta, who has 25 years hospitality experience, was a general manager for Salt Bar & Dining and a Marriot Hotel manager before becoming a pub licensee. He said: “Smaller traditional and characterful pubs work well especially in the current economic climate as energy costs are lower and staff recruitment is less problematic.” Star Pubs & Bars business development manager, Dan Hayward, added: “With Royston already having more food and sports-led pubs, there’s room for a traditional local, offering great drinks and simple good pub food with excellent service. Vamsi’s the ideal person to take it forward.”
Nando’s launches employability programme with FareShare: Nando’s has launched an employability programme in partnership with food redistribution charity FareShare. The partnership aims to provide employment opportunities to people enrolled in the programme, as well as people supported by the charities and community groups that FareShare supplies food to. It also connects job seekers with employment opportunities across Nando’s restaurants throughout the UK and Ireland. Nando’s started working with FareShare last year to support its “No Chuckin’ Our Chicken” initiative. Nando’s provides chicken to local charities and community groups all over the UK via FareShare Go, which links organisations with their local restaurants so they can collect surplus food at the end of the day. Sam McCarthy, head of sustainability at Nando’s, said: “Furthering this partnership into recruitment was the perfect evolution of our employability aims and our work with FareShare. Not only do we have a real business need in finding and recruiting new talent from different backgrounds, but this programme provides opportunities for all involved to support young people into employment.”
Gordon Ramsay to open second Lucy Cat restaurant with Manchester launch next month: Chef Gordon Ramsay will open the second site for his Lucky Cat concept, in Manchester, next month. Ramsay launched the “authentic Asian eating house and vibrant late-night lounge” in London’s Mayfair in 2019. Now he will open a site in King Street, Manchester, on Thursday, 1 June. It marks the first major opening for Ramsay in the city. The restaurant will span three floors, and in addition to the main restaurant, there are also extensive private dining spaces and bars. Lucky Cat’s menu is designed for sharing, with small plates cooked on a robata grill including grilled black cod, spiced lamb chops and hand dived scallops, all alongside a menu of maki, dumplings and bao buns and tempura-fried dishes. It also has a special “Sunday shares” menu and a late night menu of sushi and skewers, available alongside Asian-inspired cocktails and Japanese sake. Ramsay said: “Manchester is renowned for its thriving culinary landscape, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. We’re fired up to build on the phenomenal success of our Mayfair restaurant and bring something truly exceptional to Manchester.”
Bean launches new concept site as it upsizes at Liverpool ONE for second time: North west independent coffee company Bean has launched its new concept site after upsizing at Liverpool ONE for the second time in a year. The 4,361 square-foot site in College Lane spans two floors and seats up to 150 guests. It also features relaxed dining and co-working zones, centred around a new brew bar serving Bean’s selection of single origin coffee, in fully biodegradable coffee cups. The menu also includes a range of fresh sandwiches and sweet treats from an always traceable, eco-conscious supply chain, sourcing produce directly from farms. The outlet builds on its initial pop-up and subsequent debut site at Liverpool ONE, which is owned by Grosvenor. Jon Whyte, co-founder of Bean, said: “Launching our latest site at Liverpool ONE is a pivotal moment for Bean and we are elated to have opened our new concept and much larger location. We are extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to initially trial Bean at Liverpool ONE during the pop-up period and are so happy to be continuing our journey at the destination.” Metis and CBRE acted for Liverpool ONE. Bean dealt direct.

Midlands independent pub and steakhouse concept agrees deal for sixth site: Midlands independent pub and steakhouse concept The Fulton Partnership has struck a deal for its sixth site, in Derby. It has partnered with Wavensmere Homes for a project that will see one of the buildings at the £175m Nightingale Quarter Scheme in Derby city centre transformed into a cafe, bar and restaurant. Called The Pepperpot, the venue is scheduled to open in August, offering gastro-style food with locally sourced ingredients. Work has already started at the site, at the front of the former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary redevelopment, with Wavensmere Homes and The Fulton Partnership collectively investing more than £1m in the project. The Pepperpot will be The Fulton Partnership’s sixth venue in the Midlands after The Butchers Bar and The Westgate Suites Wedding Venue in Long Eaton; Stables Hotel and The Bowling Green Inn in Ashbourne; and The Saracens Head Steakhouse in Meir, Stoke on Trent. Owner Graeme Fulton said: “The Pepperpot will be our first city centre venue, which we’ve been on the lookout for some time. We have appointed Matthew Guy as the head chef, and the menus have a strong emphasis on quality and choice.”

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